Great Lakes Wind Forecasting: A Workshop For Sailors
Saturday, March 10, 2018


No aspect of weather is more important to sailors than the wind. It dictates when it is safe to leave port and whether your journey will be fast or comfortable. On the race course, properly predicting the wind separates the winners from the losers.

The Great Lakes Wind Forecasting workshop is designed for Great Lakes sailors of all experience levels and interest. Accurately forecasting the wind promotes safer, more enjoyable outings and improves performance on the race course. Whether you are a Mac racer, day sailor, beer-can racer, long distance cruiser, or serious competitor, the skills learned during this workshop will enhance your understanding of the wind and improve your sailing experience.

What you can expect to learn at the workshop:

• Why the wind behaves the way it does
• How to translate the confusing symbols and meteorological shorthand on forecast graphics
• The basics of lake breezes, land breezes, thunderstorms, clouds and other dynamics that produce localized and short-term changes in the wind
• Ways to judge the likelihood, strength and duration of headers/lifts
• A methodology for observing the wind and using on-line resources to develop your own forecast
• Strategies for using your wind-forecasting knowledge to your advantage, whether you are a day sailor, cruiser or serious racer

The workshop combines traditional classroom instruction, Great Lakes case studies, and several hands-on exercises to create an engaging learning experience.

Bay City Yacht Club

3315 Shady Shores Drive

Bay City., MI 48708

March 10, 2018

8:00 am to 4:30 pm

$35 (includes lunch)

Please send questions regarding the workshop to Mark Thornton at

Mark Thornton has been sailing for more than 25 years and currently owns Osprey, a C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical, and severe weather forecasting.

He is the president of LakeErieWX LLC, a company dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters ( Mark publishes a marine weather blog and teaches basic forecasting seminars to recreational boaters during the off-season. He has served as the Race Meteorologist for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac since 2014. Mark is employed as the Vice-President of Administration for the law firm of Wegman, Hessler & Vanderburg, and as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.

Seminar Outline

Section One: Introduction
Section Two: Building A Solid Foundation: A Meteorological Primer
Section Three: Decoding and Interpreting Weather Forecasting Graphics
Section Four: Dissecting the Forces Controlling the Wind
Section Five: Understanding Large-Scale Wind Patterns
Section Six: Tackling the Challenges of Small-Scale and Short-Term Wind Patterns
Section Seven: Resources for Observing the Wind
Section Eight: An Examination of Wind Forecasting Resources.
Section Nine: Putting It All Together: Creating Your Own Forecast.

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